Let’s Celebrate! Vanessa Rose And Gagan Leekha Are This Year’s Recipients Of Our Diversity Scholarship Award!
We want to thank all of the 2015 Diversity Scholarship applicants. All applicants already engage in such meaningful work within our community, and ICA is honored to have gotten the opportunity to learn from and about this year’s participants.
Vanessa was born in Chile with ancestry to the Aymara Aboriginal people in South America. Her family came to Canada as a refugee when she was a young child. Vanessa is currently in her third year of the Bachelor of Social Work Program at the University of Victoria. She is also a Health Support Worker at The Victoria Native Friendship Centre that serves the Urban Aboriginal population in Victoria, where she is focusing on narrowing the health disparities currently facing Aboriginal peoples.
Growing up with parents who spoke no English, Vanessa experienced and witnessed the many challenges of being displaced from homeland and the vulnerability faced by individuals when navigating the medical system. This has led her to become a passionate advocate for people in the area of Health Care. Upon completion of her degree, she aspires to continue working in the Health Care field, supporting people of all cultures and backgrounds by ensuring they acquire the health supports they need in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner.
“Thank you to ICA board for this wonderful scholarship. I really enjoyed the process of applying because it caused me to reflect on why I do the work I do. I was reminded of all the amazing people that I have worked alongside on issues related to equity, inclusion, social justice, and creating a more welcoming community. I am grateful for the learning and growth that I’ve been a part of in community and on the traditional territory of the Coast and Straight Salish people, and I look forward to the good work ahead. Thank you!”
Gagan is an MA candidate in the School of Leadership Studies and Royal Roads University. She has over 15 years of community development experience work with organizations such as Sierra Club BC, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre, Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, and Victoria Coalition for Survivors of Torture. Gagan values inclusion, community-building, and working across differences to create lasting, systemic change. She is currently working as Community Liaison with BC Healthy Communities.